If the press materials provided at its screening are to be believed, Aleksey Fedorchenko’s First on the Moon, which professes to tell the story of a secret, Soviet moon mission in 1938, is the first Russian mockumentary. Through a combination of archival footage (both real and fake), fake surveillance video, and modern-day interviews with “participants” in the venture, the film traces the history of the moon project back to the invention of the rocket, and explores the mystery of its ill-fated ending. Very early in the film, it becomes apparent that it’s unusual within its genre for a reason that goes beyond its origin: First on the Moon is a mockumentary with almost no interest in humor. Instead, when viewed with any knowledge of Soviet history at all, Fedorchenko’s melancholy film becomes a regretful indictment of the Soviet government, and its devastating need to destroy the best and the brightest the country had to offer.
categories Reviews, Cinematical